Donald Trump

I wish someone had told me to love Donald Trump more, sooner.

“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Carel, a long time Trump commentator!

Four years ago I wrote this article about Trump’s win in the American Presidential election. I feel ill to my stomach that Trump will be POTUS… And for about two years after that event, I increasingly “hated” Trump, shouted at his image on my TV screen (I am addicted to CNN and Fox News).

However I then realised that Trump (misogynist, racist, petulant and nasty as he is) is not the problem. Those who enable and use him for self gain are. And the danger is not Trump but rather his normalising of fake (unquestioned) news and the dumbing down of people (who increasingly only access news and views that enforce their own bias) who disengage or resort to violence – not useful extremes, at all.

Joe Biden’s win offers little hope to my mind. And yes, while I am a fan of Kamala Harris, she is not (yet?!) POTUS. And so, I wanted to write a short blog to offer some views on what I wish I had known earlier.

First off: there are many, many, MANY people who support Trump and his policies. And they don’t deserve to be ignored. While I often find their views reprehensible, they have validity. All views do. And so I have tried hard to engage with Trump supporters to understand their views. The challenge, I think, is that we are increasinly living in a world where people seek clear cut opposition. Right and wrong. Black and white. And, to my mind, the world is grey. It has nuance. No one leader is all good or all bad. Nor is any one person. So, try not to pick on one aspect and extrapolate that to the whole being of an individual.

The art of disagreeing, with respect for the other party and yourself, seems to have been lost. We don’t have to (in fact, it will be bad for the advancement of our race) all agree about everything. But we must agree on the ground rules for disagreeing with each other. In sharing facts and opinions. Trumpism has made that more challenging with its support for violence, aggression and bullying when at opposong sides of an argument. Trumpism, I think, is far too focused on short term wins for a few, rather than long term sustainability for all mankind.

Fear, anger and hurt felt by millions often enables a populist leader and viewpoint to rise. Far better that we all help in addressing that fear, anger and hurt – via education (vital and must include learnings around critcial thinking), increased economic independence and the strengtening of a society which sees individualism not as an absolute right but as a privilege to build a strong community – where all of us can acheive to the best of our abilities.

At the end of the day, I think we all want pretty much the same things: safety and security for ourselves and our nearest and dearest, good health and long life, an opportunity to earn a decent living and to make a contribution to the world. So let’s work, together, for that. For all.

Donald, I don’t hate you. Nor do I hate those who support you. I don’t agree, at all, with your views – nor your manner and style of leadeship. But I also know my views aren’t 100% right. And my hope is that we don’t become cynical. Nor embolden violence as a way to achieve a solution. Rather that we engage in rigorous debate and find compromises to move forward.

In my own country we did that well leading up to 1994. We achieved the impossible. We may have squandered much of that. But thankfully, on the ege of the abyss once more, we have an opportunity to pause. To give the impossible a go once more. I wish the American people – Democrats and Republicans on the edge of your own abyss – as well as my fellow Saffas much grit, strength, resilience and good humour as we navigate the next few years. It’s gonna be one helluva ride!

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Carel is an investor in people and businesses, believing that 1+1 = (at least) 22. Working with a few basic concepts – best encapsulated in his believe that unless we are dead, anything is possible – Carel aims to build long-term sustainable value with like-minded individuals and companies, while having (a lot of!) fun.